New net zero regulator needed to replace failing Ofgem

23 May 2023

The UK’s leading energy union, Prospect, has called for failing energy regulator Ofgem to be abolished and replaced by a net zero energy regulator to protect consumers and drive forward the transition to a clean energy future.

In its new Delivering clean power: a mission for the energy system report published today, the union declares Ofgem “not fit for purpose” and criticises the regulator for “failing to protect consumers from unfair practices, prevent suppliers going bust, or drive sufficient investment in net zero.”

The report calls for the new net zero energy regulator to focus on consumer protection and economic regulation, and for the creation of a Net Zero Energy Agency that can take charge of eliminating roadblocks to net zero including planning, investment and workforce issues.

These new bodies would sit alongside a public energy generation company established to accelerate the rollout of homegrown, low carbon energy, and support green jobs across the UK by crowding in private investment and launching a race to the top in working conditions by prioritising procurement from companies that engage with trade unions.

Prospect’s paper outlines the staggering scale of the challenge ahead: by 2030 the UK will need to deliver five times as much new electricity transmission infrastructure as it has in the last three decades, three times as much additional offshore wind capacity as it has ever built, and the first new nuclear reactors since the 1990s.

The report sets out a blueprint to make the UK a clean energy superpower: reaching net zero emissions, ensuring energy security in an increasingly unstable world, guaranteeing affordable access to energy, and creating good green jobs across the country.

Other key recommendations include:

  • Accelerating public investment in renewables and building confidence from private investors by setting out clear roadmaps for the deployment of renewable technologies
  • Ending the ban on onshore wind and reforming planning and permitting to speed up renewable projects
  • Investing in the next generation of gigawatt-scale nuclear reactors and SMRs, and safeguarding our supply of nuclear fuel by bringing the UK’s only fuel manufacturer, Springfields, into public ownership
  • Upgrading the energy grid to meet the increased electricity demand of a fossil fuel free future
  • Establishing a just transition fund to support workers and communities dependent on high carbon industries, paid for by the windfall from offshore wind lease agreements
  • Lowering energy costs for low income and vulnerable households by introducing a social tariff with bills based on affordability rather than market rates
  • Incentivising the retrofitting of homes and buildings across the country

Sue Ferns, Prospect Senior Deputy General Secretary, said:

“We have been suffering the consequences of years of failed energy policy and a regulator asleep at the wheel: rising bills for families and businesses, jobs and investment moving overseas, and desperately needed new homes unable to be built because the government hasn’t enabled investment in our electricity network.”

“President Biden’s ambitious investment in good, green jobs through the Inflation Reduction Act should have shocked the government into action, but instead they are tinkering around the edges and muttering about protectionism.

“This report sets out a blueprint for the UK to become a clean energy superpower and reap the rewards of leading the world to net zero. But unless we act now, British workers and industry risk missing out on the opportunities posed by taking on this generational challenge.”

two energy workers


From generation to transmission, Prospect represents the interests of over 22,500 members working across all parts of the energy sector.